Let Off Some Steam is a new section where we let you guys get something off your chest – it can be a vitriol laced rant, a sappy love letter to whatever, or anything inbetween. Send your magic words in this direction, and try and keep it under 600 words. This time achievements is on the receiving end of a rant from Jo Con.
The State of Achievements
When the 360 came out and the whole achievements thing was revealed to me I thought it was the best idea ever: finally a concrete and easy way to record all I attain in my games and lord it over my mates.
But the joy has waned. The pursuit of gamer-score has begun to distract from the games and even directs how I play them. The ever increasing number next to my tag becomes more and more meaningless as it grows larger with the spoils of empty accomplishments tacked onto games to make up the numbers.
Games get abandoned unfinished as I burn myself out spending too much time hunting for collectables and grinding side quests. (RDR I'm looking at you.)
Something has to change.
I think some sort of record of your progress and exploits in a game is good. I like there being proof of me completing all the Halo games on Legendary for example or getting the Endure achievement in ODST. But I do think they should be stripped down a bit, reduced to the important bits.
Get rid of basic easy stuff: "Healed myself for the first time" and "Killed my first enemy". These are not achievements people!
Enough with grinding achievements like "Fired assault rifles 1000 times" (Now do it with the Shotgun, LMG and Sniper Rifle) or "Use X ability 200 times".
Record this stuff sure but I remember standing around in Mass Effect spamming the various abilities into a wall because I knew I was so close to the required number.
Ditch ones that affect how a player plays a game such as going 100% good/evil or "Complete mission X by doing Y" or "Drive car B for 100 races"
Hell, perhaps limit the tracking of such things in games altogether and just tell me at the end what kind of player I was.
Collection achievements are getting a bit much - at least the audio logs in Bioshock advanced the story-line but collecting flags, feathers and Templars in AC? That's just padding the game.
And multiplayer achievements? Not everyone can or wants to play online, especially games that are not established multiplayer greats.
I would have 100% in Bioshock 2 if it did not expect me to get to the top of the online rankings to do so and that kinda annoys me.
Also, make them mean more than a number. Include in-game bonuses for getting certain achievements such as in Mass Effect or the Katana in Halo 3.
Collections too - have there be some point to it like in Farcry 2 where the diamonds are used to buy better guns or the Bioshock audio logs expanding the story.
I know I don't have to try and get them, I could just turn off the notifications and pretend they don't exist. But they do. Some of them are good and worthy of striving for and being this close to getting one more and then just walking away is a hard thing to do.
Achievements are here to stay and that's a good thing, but please lets abandon this minimum number required in a game and focus on quality over quantity. Make them a record of accomplishment instead of a stats-padding numbers game.
What's your view on Achievements - how can they be improved? Do you care about them? Do they dictate your gaming experience?